The Offspring - Splinter (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Offspring

Splinter (2003)


Considering how big the Offspring seem to be [over 30 million records sold worldwide is nothing to scoff at], this is a surprisingly low-key release. It hasn't been hyped up by anyone at all. There's no music video out. The bizarre single "Hit That" isn't doing much in the way of radioplay. Splinter, the Offspring's seventh [!] studio album feels like a band out of ideas, desparately trying to retain some sort of relevancy.

As usual, the band tries to be "punk" with really good skaterock tracks such as "The Noose" and the 1-2 punch of "Never Gonna Find Me" and "Lightning Rod" - look for them on the next incarnation of Tony Hawk. But for every ripper of a punk rock song there's a lame gimmick one, as well. "The Worst Hangover Ever" is a terrible attempt at ska, and sounds like the kind of song you'd hear on your local classic rock station's morning show as a joke track. "Spare Me The Details" is even more cringe-worthy, with Dexter singing lyrics as bad as "And I really don't want to hear /About her feet all up in the air" and "I'm not the one who acted like a ho / Why must I be the one who has to know." This guy has a PhD? Insane.

Musically it's still the same old Offspring. One would hope that the drumming might have pushed a few more boundaries since Josh Freese replaced original drummer Ron Welty for the Splinter sessions, but every song sounds as basic as it could come. Freese's chops really only get to shine in "Long Way Home," a dynamo of a song with a killer drum solo in the middle of it. Outside of that, I wonder why Columbia was willing to pay for talent that wasn't even used.

Dexter's vocals are stronger than usual, though, and while he still gets eeriely close to "Weird Al" Yankovic in timbre, he can still wail with the best of them. It's just a shame the band couldn't write a better batch of songs for him to bellow.

All that being said, this still is the best Offspring album since Ixnay On The Hombre. There's definitely more of an old-school Epitaph-era Offspring feel for a lot of the faster songs which make them fun as hell, and while the stupid songs are really, really stupid [I won't even talk about the last track], at least there's no "Original Prankster"/"Pretty Fly For A White Guy"/"Come Out And Play" ripoff track. See, there's always something to be thankful for.